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What Is an Operation? (Mathematics Glossary)

What Is an Operation?

An operation takes two values (called operands) and produces another value from them.

The type of operation is denoted by an operator.

The operations in arithmetic are:

Operation Operator Symbol Operator Name
Addition Plus
Subtraction Minus
Multiplication Times
Division Divide

Operations, Operators and Operands

An operation is between two values called operands.

The type of operation is shown by the operator.

Addition Operation

Subtraction Operation

Multiplication Operation

Division Operation

Interactive Test


Several operations may be written together:

This expression has addition, multiplication, subtraction and division.

Depending on what order the operations are completed in, there will be a different answer.

We need to know the order of operations, which is given by the acronym:

For the purposes of the arithmetical operators, the DMAS is what we are interested in.

The brackets indicate that the operators have equal precendence, and are read left to right.

Division and multiplication must be evaluated before addition and subtraction.

Evaluate the × and ÷ first:

Then evaluate the + and -, from left to right: